‘Freewheeling’ by Andrew Bell

Thanks to Andrew for this delightful piece written in response to the recent prompt ‘Touch’.

Every April I look and listen
waiting for them to come.

And now, the martins
are here again, slicing the air

high above the rooftops
nimble and assured,

patterning the sky
with precision and grace;

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‘Greetings’ by Kevin Murphy

Our thanks to Kevin for this thoughtful response to the prompt ‘Wave’

The greatest impact of Covid 19 on the human race could be an invisible one – not microscopic like the virus itself, but actually not visible. It could alter key fundamental behaviours, which may not be addressed at the UN or at the family level – a psychological element, one affecting mental and therefore physical health of the population of the earth.

A Doctor Zunin made a discovery on which management ‘guru’ Claus Moller built a theory of good management, which he has taught to internationally successful organisations and companies. Simply put: the first four minutes of any relationship set the tone of the rest of the relationship. This includes anything from a short conversation to a marriage for life, and every time we meet and greet.

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Prompt of the week

Many, many years ago, before even electric typewriters were a thing (yes, I am an ancient relic!), I learned to touch type. School girls at rows of desks thwacking the keys to make sure they hit the tape cleanly, not allowed to look down at them. I remember the noise of the typewriters, and the teacher yelling at us above it! It took a while, but eventually, my fingers worked pretty much automatically, finding the letters without my even thinking about it. All these years later, I’m still touch typing away (though not bashing the keys in quite such an aggressive manner – my laptop wouldn’t like that at all!) faster than ever with the help of the newfangled keyboards.

Our fingers are amazing tools really, aren’t they? How, without even looking, we know the texture of things, the heat, the size….

Doesn’t have to be fingers either… when I was learning to ride I was told that my leg resting against the horse’s side should be ‘like the gentle holding of a hand, the lightest touch’, so that the horse knows you’re there and would react to the slightest squeeze.

So there you go, two different interpretations. See what you can come up with using the prompt:

Touch

As always, write in any format you choose. Hey, why not try writing some prose and editing it into poetry? Use a light touch – don’t be heavy handed!

‘Unmask!’ by Chris South

Very many thanks to Chris for submitting this most topical piece of prose poetry in response to the recent prompt ‘Mask’. Excellent work!

Unmask!

Were I to ask that you and I unmask would you turn and walk away? Afraid to greet me face to face in case I cough or sneeze and spray on you?

Do you recall the fall of 2001 after the Twin Towers were gone? Paranoia grew across every nation in every airport, every station. The whole world blew a gasket after they fell. It all went to hell in a hand basket of fear and mistrust of familiar faces, those who were different religions and races! Then we went to war like never before to crush an Axis of Evil! Some foreign devil that dared to intrude on our way of life! So we gave them some strife and removed all the haters, hunted down old foes and dictators just to settle the scores from previous wars. Turns out they had nothing at all to do with 911 and no Weapons of Mass Destruction! So the world lived in fear for seven years until it’s next introduction!

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‘We must remember them’ by Pete Brammer

For V J Day

Pete’s father was a Grenadier Guard in WW2. He was commended for gallantry and carried the coffin of King George V

Like delicate wings of butterflies,
Red petals gently fall,
Past stony faces gathered there,
Inside the Albert Hall.

They shall not grow old as we grow old,
Those fallen brave young men,
Complacency must not creep in,
We must remember them.

Royal Navy and the Merchant Men,
Out on the cruel, cruel sea,
Were taken out by U.boat crews,
As they fought to keep us free.

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‘My Visiting Robin’ by Joan Saxby

I saw a robin in my garden I hadn’t seen before
I think he likes it as he keeps returning to my door
He looks for worms and crumbs down on the ground
And tweets and sings making a lovely sound.

He’s probably saying that he’s found his lunch
He and the blackbirds are a happy bunch
I am glad that they like my garden so much
Even the rabbit seems happy in her little hutch.

‘Mid-Afternoon MOOCing with Eliza-bot’ by Kerry Swarbrick

Hello. My name is Eliza. How may I help you?
“I’m not sure I need any help. Do you?”
Do you believe it is normal to be not sure you need any help. Do me?
“Do me?”
OK… “I’m not sure you need any help. Do you”. Tell me more.
“Why?”
What do you think?
“What do you think?”
We were discussing you, not me.
“You were. I wasn’t.”
You’re not really talking about me, are you?
“I don’t know enough about you to talk about you. Who are you?”
Do you wish to be able to know enough about me to talk about me. Who am I?
“Not really, I’m just being polite.”
Do you enjoy being just being polite?
“Do you enjoy answering questions with questions?”
Oh… “enjoy answering questions with questions?”
“It’s a very simple question.”
I’m not sure I understand you fully.
“Me neither.”
Tell me more…
“Another time, maybe…”
You aren’t sure?
“About what?”
What do you think?
“I think it’s time to make my excuses and leave. Goodbye Eliza.”
Do you really think so?

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‘Waving’ by Barrie Purnell

Thanks to Barrie for writing this moving poem in response to this week’s prompt ‘Wave’.

I am waving to the lovers
About to leave each other’s side
Having given each other everything
They have nothing left to hide,
Although she holds her head up high
Her eyelids are hanging low,
She didn’t have the courage
To say she didn’t want to go.

I am waving to the immigrants
Setting sail for shores unknown,
With a handful of false promises
And nowhere to call home,
Their ship sails on forever
On an ocean of their fears,
The image of our indifference
Reflecting in their tears.

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Prompt of the week

YooHoo, hi there, helloeeee….

I hope you’re waving back! I’m sure you are, you can’t help yourself when someone waves at you, can you?

Yep, you guessed it, this week’s prompt is ‘Wave’, though of course, it doesn’t have to be a hand wave, it could be a wave upon the shore, a lock of wavy hair, a wave of nausea even…ick! As usual, it’s up to you to use the word as inspiration, decide on interpretation, as well choosing the presentation (hey, look at all those ‘tions’!) – short story or poem, or maybe this week you’ve got an experience you’d like to share as creative non-fiction? Keep it real, or make it up, it’s really up to you, that is the joy of creative writing.

p.s. don’t forget to send us your work, we’d love to read it!

Peter Green’s End of the Game by Kevin Murphy

Kevin’s response to the trigger green

My Peter Green and the End of the Game for us.

December 1970

Image Copyright, Kevin Murphy

I had missed the early years of the British Blues Boom as I was a young Friar in a monastery. A few months after I left in June 1968, out of the corner of a community centre came an experience which changed my life. Some ethereal music was playing with the most plaintive singing and a heart rending wail of ‘I just wish I had never been born’.

It moved into a rock section which warmed me, before settling down and the singer finished with the line, ‘And I wish I was in love’.

By that point I was hovering over the Juke box and learnt that the track was ‘Man of the World’ by Fleetwood Mac.

After being cloistered away from ‘the world’ for the whole of my teens, the song stirred something in me. Yes, I had ‘missed the sixties’, and I did wish I was in love.

I needed to hear more, so I played the B side. I could have lost out so much. ‘Earl Vince & The Valiants – Somebody’s Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonite’? It seemed like Fleetwood Mac must be a novelty band, having a B side not by them: they must have so little material as to be a one-hit-wonder band.

It was from that same Juke box that I first heard Jimi Hendrix with ‘All along the Watchtower’. Luckily I was taking Melody Maker occasionally, so checked both – Mac and Jimi. It took a while to delve into the history to find what I had missed in music: Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Doors, West Coast rock, the British Blues Boom all getting a grip on me.

In early 1969 I was elected Member Leader of our new Youth Club – Greyfriars, Oxford – whilst also suggesting ‘dances’ at the College of Further Education. During a steep learning curve, over the coming year I became Social Secretary, Soc Sec – and was invited to Melody Maker’s Battle of the Bands final. The show was memorable to me only for the act who covered the judging interval – singer of the novelty hit, Space Oddity and its even stranger B side ‘I’m a little Gnome and you can’t catch me’, David Bowie.

I had promoted Anarchy rock sensation The Edgar Broughton Band three times – Out Demons Out was their politics – Steamhammer, Gypsy, Gracious and Pete Brown’s Battered Ornaments among many others. So I did get deep into the burgeoning Rock Music scene.

I bought up the sparse back-catalogue of Fleetwood Mac, and soon realised that I was moved only by the tracks written and sung by Peter Green. This fitted because ‘Vince’ of the Valiants, was Jeremy Spencer who seemed to have only one tune and style – that of ‘Dust my Broom’ and I would soon be skipping those tracks.

I then needed to find where Peter had started. This led to John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers’ A Hard Road album, with the spine tingling instrumental The Supernatural. That became a live staple even with Splinter group thirty years later. And the singles – there it was, a B side, what was to become my song – Out of Reach – deep, sad blues singing, and spine tingling guitar – by an eighteen year old! The last line ‘I’m Out of reach, can’t take no more’, brought me up to date with Man of the World’s – ‘I wish I was in love.’

The search was now on for any opportunity to catch Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac live.

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God rest Peter who died during the Covid 19 Lockdown.